Mission complete: the StarHopper succeeded in the second test flight

28 August 2019 | Written by La redazione

After a failed first attempt, SpaceX manages to launch the Starship prototype in a short but intense flight

It made us wait but the wait was worth it. In the arid plain of the SpaceX test infrastructure in Boca Chica, Texas, the StarHopper, the prototype used to test the new Raptor engines, the driving system and the basic capabilities of what will become the Starship in the future, has raised from the ground with a dull roar. The flight lasted only a minute, more than enough to excite the enthusiasts and the curious and to allow the SpaceX engineers to verify that the new experimental systems were working properly.


The leap. Slowly but decisively the prototype lifted up to a height of 150 meters and moved horizontally about 100 meters, to then gently rest on the landing pad in a huge cloud of steam. During the flight, the Starhopper was able to test the capabilities of the new engines powered by methane and the attitude system that allows control of the aircraft.


Beautiful on the inside. The test was defined as “low risk, high reward”, since the rocket, or what appears to be only its stump, was built, at least apparently, in a hurry and without dwelling on parts not necessary. This approach has given it a scruffy and poorly finished look, but that’s okay: what looks like an over-grown boiler, actually contains within it innovative technologies in the field of aerospace reusability, a SpaceX trademark.


Next jumps. This test will start the next step in the development of the Starship, whose construction and testing proceeds at two separate sites, the aforementioned Boca Chica and the Cocoa Beach plant in Florida. Elon Musk, in line with his vision of the future, predicts that the first operational, unmanned flights of the complete Starship will take place around 2022 with destination Mars, followed in 2024 by the launch of a crew headed for the red planet.


Watch the video of the launch:

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